Some of the more interesting and esoteric plug-ins can come from independent developers, and the dEQ6 arrives courtesy of TBProAudio. A six-band stereo/MS dynamic equalizer, it lets you control the filter gain of each of its six bands using a compressor/expander, which has the effect of raising or lowering the gain of the frequency range in question. A pre-filter whose behavior is determined by the current center frequency and Q values for any of the six EQ points controls the behavior of the compressor/expander and this ensures separation between the different bands.
The plug-in works at up to 192 kHz and can do up to 4x oversampling with 64-bit internal processing. Nonetheless the developers claim that it is CPU-efficient, and it certainly seemed to be fairly kind to my three-year-old MacBook Pro even when dealing with low latency project settings. The main part of the interface is occupied by the interactive EQ display that helpfully splits the signal into different elements. Incoming signal is shown using the green curves, and outgoing using a blue curve. By working with the analyzer settings and different modes you can also reference the filter response using the yellow curve and current filter response in red. Finally, the grey curve represents the pre-filter response of the compressor. As you’d expect, you can tweak the filter points with the mouse, which I always find the most intuitive way of dialing in EQ.
Down at the bottom there’s a section that looks a little like a mixer, but this is actually where you control the behavior of the filters and compressor/expander sections for each band. There are six stereo dynamic filters arranged in series and each one can be tweaked separately. There’s Type—analogue design, minimal phase, zero delay, stereo placement (all, left/mid and right/side), frequency, gain, Q, threshold, ratio, attack, release time and gain reduction range. This excellent set of parameters means that for each band you have a really comprehensive set of tools to precisely control the behavior of the EQ curve and consequently also the output of the plug-in. There’s also sidechain support of course as well as a spectrum freeze mode so you can freeze the display.
dEQ6 falls into the category of serious audio tools that look quite scientific, as opposed to flashy. These are often the ones that have a great depth of features and that’s certainly the case here. Loading it up in projects, I found it easy to get very quick and precise control over the dynamic EQ of tracks and whole mixes. Visual feedback is excellent and there’s the selection of features to ensure that you can really get into the detail of how the EQ curve of a part or a track is set up. There’s a demo version available, and for the price, the full version seems like a good deal for anyone who values precise control of their sound.
Price: EUR 59/ $65
Pros: An interesting take on EQ. Powerful but fairly easy to grasp. Precise control over the six bands. Excellent visual feedback. High sample rate operation.
Cons: If your needs are modest, your DAW’s own EQ might suffice.